Digital Apprenticeships at Hyper Island

Job title:
Level 4 Diploma in Interactive Design and Development
Advertising and Marketing Communications | Digital

As a city that split the atom, created the programmable computer and was the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester has long been a place to pave the way with its wealth of innovations, economy and ideas of society. So it is no surprise that Manchester is leading the way in developing a collaborative powerhouse in the booming digital economy, connecting commerce and business with a new talent pool of young creative minds.

With an urgent need to address a well-documented skills gap in digital design and development, Hyper Island have designed and developed their Digital Apprenticeship using the Creative Skillset Level 4 Diploma in Interactive Design and Development (IDD) framework. The collaboration between this digital and creative business school, Manchester Digital’s Skills Group, local businesses and Creative Skillset has been central to the development of the programme, and has resulted in the largest cohort of Level 4 apprentices in England.

Lewis Greener, Programme Leader at Hyper Island explains the process involved in creating the new Level 4 Apprenticeship:

From the outset, we spoke with different employers to clearly understand their requirements. They told us that one of the biggest skills gaps was in technical development, a massive demand for front and back end developers and designers that understood the user experience.” 

Once local industry needs had been ascertained, Hyper Island set up an open day for potential employers to learn more about the realities of taking on an Apprentice and the structure of the Apprenticeship.

Lewis continues: “At the meeting, employers learned about what they could expect from the apprentices, how to manage them and discussed how to shape apprenticeship programmes to meet their needs. We presented a proposal to future employers which outlined how we thought this would meet their needs, what it would look like and how we believed we could recruit promising young people.”

With the engagement of future employers secured, Hyper Island began the search for new talent for the Digital Apprenticeship. Tapping into Creative Skillset’s education and employer network helped to spread the word, but key to raising awareness was giving young people a taster of the experience and helping them understand the opportunities available to them.

“We went out to schools and colleges which taught Graphic Design, I.T and Computing at A level & BTEC and lead workshops explaining what the digital industry really entails,” said Lewis.

There is a massive cluster of digital businesses in Manchester which few of the students really knew about. When asked to name a digital company they said Google, Apple, and Samsung etc. They didn’t know there were jobs on their doorstep, and it wasn’t a case of having to go to London or America to find them.”

After helping applicants understand the variety of roles on offer and how to best approach employers, Hyper Island brought potential employers together with apprentices on a talent day.

Employers were clearly in no doubt of the benefits apprenticeships had to offer their businesses, with ten having taken on 14 apprentices since July – including Code Computerlove, Igniso, Magnetic North, BJL, The E Word, Bright Futures, Manchester City Council, Amaze, LateRooms and Degree 53

Hyper Island are already developing the next round of Level 4 apprenticeships, with an expected intake of between 20 to 30 new apprentices. They are also connecting with Creative Skillset’s new website Hiive, a professional network for creative people, targeted at companies, course providers and professionals at any stage in their creative career.

We’re supporting local employers to create sustainable jobs for young people in Manchester in an exciting industry that can be hard to break into."

"The apprenticeship is designed to equip young people with the tools to thrive in an industry that is constantly changing and developing.” said Lewis. “It’s great to work with companies filled with people doing what they love and we are seeing the apprentices really embrace this too.”

Any employers interested in finding out more about the Hyper Island Digital Apprenticeship programme can visit the Hyper Island website or email Damian Payton at Hyper Island.

For further information on apprentices and upskilling your team, please email Helen Dobson.


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